My First Watch

I still remember getting to hold my first pocket watch the year was 1945 in Ballinger, Texas. It was a pocket watch my daddies, uncle owned.

He was an engineer for the railroad in New Mexico and the watch was given to him by the railroad. He was very protective of the watch, not many people got to look to closely at it much less get to hold it.

We had gone to the river for an afternoon of fishing. Uncle Lewis called me over and ask me to sit down beside him.

After awhile he pulled out his pocket watch and ask me if I could tell time? He then handed me the watch and told me to look at it and see if I could tell him what time it was.

I was so scared I would drop the watch I hardly looked at the face of it. He laughed and tried showing me how to read time. If my chest had gotten any bigger I think it would have burst.

I dont remember learning a whole a whole lot about telling time but I was one proud boy. Uncle Lewis came back to visit us again later that year, and took the time to teach me how to tell time.

Back then the watches used on the rail roads were considered to be the finest time keeping pieces available.

They had to be extremely accurate so the engineers could make sure they would make a switching place at the right time. If their timing was off by a few seconds it could result in a collision with another train.

After Uncle Lewis taught me how to tell time, I made a promise to myself I was going to have a watch. It took me seven years to fulfill my promise but I got a new watch for Christmas in 1952.

Every year our family would gather Pecans around Ballinger, then go to the Concho River and thrash the trees there. We sold the Pecans to help pay the taxes on our home and get an extra thing or two for the house.

Our family also pulled cotton in the fall to help make ends meet.

At five years old I was expected to pull 50 lbs of cotton every day or I got in trouble with Daddy.

Daddy and Mama had sewn a strap on a burlap sack and that was what I put my pulled cotton in. Daddy wasnt being, mean we just need the money to make ends meet.

In the fall of 1952 there was a pretty good cotton crop that year.

By this time I had been upgraded to a regular cotton sack. I was expected to take care of the new sack since it took what seemed like a lot of money then to purchase it.

I was pulling around 300 lbs a day now that I had a grown mans sack, which was seven to eight foot long and when full a grown man could barley reach around it.

We were paid $1.50 for every 100 lbs of cotton we pulled. The fields that were close to Ballinger I went to after school to, pull cotton until dark, then on Saturday and Sunday we pulled from a little after day break until dark.

We were quite busy that year taking care of the farmers that had used us from season to season. Daddy was keeping tabs on how much each of us pulled. I didnt know it at the time but Daddy was showing that I had pulled 50 lbs less each day than what I had actually pulled. He kept this up for nearly the whole season, just telling my brother what he was doing.

As Christmas drew near my brother started carrying me along with him when he went to town. He would eventually get around to making the jewelry store to window shop.

He would talk about what kind of watch he was going to buy when the one he was wearing wore out. Then he would start asking what kind of watch I thought I would like to have if I ever got the money to buy one. My mind was already made up, I had my eye on a small mans watch that was self winding and had a pretty leather band on it.

This went on until two days before Christmas, when we went to town and did our usual window shopping and I found my prized watch was gone, some one had bought it. I thought the world was coming to an end. I still was looking forward to Christmas though, because we always had something under the Christmas tree.

Daddy pulled a good one on me that Christmas, he took the money from the extra cotton pulling and went to Tignars Jewelry store and bought my prized watch.

On Christmas morning I was the last one to make it to living room where the Christmas Tree was. Every body else was there drinking coffee and having a big time. The presents were handed out and all were opened and we were sitting around talking and looking at our new gifts.

Mama, ask me to check and make sure there were no more presents under the tree. I told her I was sure there wasnt any more but I would look. To my surprise I found one with my name on it. Every one told me to hurry and open it they wanted to see what was in the package.

When I saw my prized watch all I could do was cry with joy.

I wore the watch until 1987 and only gave it up then because the jeweler said he couldnt fix it anymore. It was just worn out.

I still have the watch in a special place in the chest of drawers in our bedroom. It has no money value but the memory value is so precious it is worth more than silver or gold.




About the Author (text)Phillip and Minnie sell quality watches on their web site. At present there are 6 brands listed. You can get a free news letter with a new Pecan recipe each month, along with tips on how to care for your Pecan trees. We have made it a family web store.

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